Songwriter and Journalist Dorothy Horstman (1930-1999), began her love affair with Country and Western music early in life. She was born in Georgia, adopted and raised in Louisiana. She attended the University of Texas at Austin in the 1950s and became a registered nurse. In 1959 she married James Horstman and would later make her home in New York City, taking her love for Country and Western music with her. It is here that her interest in the creative process of song writing moved from a personal interest to one that would include a more public persona. Although never academically trained, Mrs. Horstman spent four decades between 1954-1999, conducting countless interviews with some of the most important artist and performers in Country and Western music. Following the example of Sigmund Spaeth, Dorothy left no door closed in her search for the facts and origin to a particular song. In the mid-1970s, she put her research to work in her own weekly WYNC radio show. Many will remember her signature opening of "Hello Country Fans. . ."
In 1975 Mrs. Horstman published her first book titled,
Sing Your Heart Out, Country Boy
, in it she continued to work with the concept she originated known as song annotation or the process of learning the origin and inspiration of a song and its connection to the people.
Prior to her death in September 1999, Dorothy had just completed work on her second book titled,
America's Best Loved Country Songs
. It is being posthumously published.
Dorothy Horstman once wrote that "Country music is as American as mom's apple pie. . . (covering such values as) God, country, home, mother, good and evil, right and wrong." Spanning four decades the Dorothy Horstman Oral History Field and Radio Show recording collection portrays the astonishing range of this genre. Contained within it are such country legends as Jimmie Rodgers who, is not only known as the "Father of Country Music," but who also helped move country music from its hillbilly roots of instrumentals to its modern day vocal sound and style. Ernest Tubb, who throughout his fifty year career in the business helped some of country music's greats, Hank Williams, Loretta Lynn, Pasty Cline, Charlie Walker, and Hank Snow get their start. Roy Acuff once named the "King of Country Music" by baseball great Dizzy Dean, who along with Fred Rose formed Acuff-Rose Publications, Nashville's first country music publishing company. And the Carter Family, also known as the "first family of country music," who blended tradition songs and lyrics with their own musical and vocal techniques to help put country music on the map during the 1930s.